Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 26 - 31, 2015, AZ

Wednesday, January 28.  I survived the work week, incredibly busy with lots of cranky people.  Why do some folks just have to be so nasty and rude?  I checked in 3 today that were just not very nice and I can only hope that "what goes around comes around" applies to them some day.  They forget that us lowly receptionists are just the messengers, not the decision makers in most cases me we really have no control over how things are working.  And I'm ready for these major events that are going on in Phoenix this weekend (Super Bowl, PGA, and something else) to be done with.  Maybe it just means that the places I want to visit with my guests, cousin Jo and her husband, Ray, will have fewer people to deal with.  OK, I'm done with my rant.

Saturday, January 31.  Jo and Ray showed up about noon on Thursday and we hung out around the house, took Frisco for a little walk and I showed them around the community.  We had a great time over dinner and a few drinks and lots and lots of talking.

Friday morning, it was raining and the rain has continued until about mid-day today.  We invited Pat and Roger to join us for some exploring of the area, since they were cooped up in their motorhome in the rain.  We went out through the Tonto National Forest to the Salt River in hopes of spotting some of the wild horses in the area - no luck there.  From there, we were headed to the Queen Creek Olive Mill but the roads were flooded and we ended up going back to Gilbert with a stop at Postino's for a glass of wine and some delicious bruchetta.  Such a nice place with yummy food and wine.  We also toured a couple of retirement communities - they may want to spend some time here during the winter.

In the evening, Roger made us all Old Fashioneds and then we went to Red, White, and Brew for a yummy Walleye dinner.  The wait was a bit long, but the food was very good - a nice place.  Thanks, Ray & Jo for the treat.

Today, after a nice breakfast, they wanted to check out another community, so we toured a couple of houses at Los Palmas Grande - a very nice community in eastern Mesa.  After that, we went to see the movie, Black or White, with Kevin Costner and we all thought it was a good movie.  When we got back here, we played Farkel until they got a text saying their flights out of here tomorrow, to go back to Chicago, were cancelled due to a snowstorm there.  For the last hour or so, they have been trying to book another flight and it looks like early morning on Wednesday is the earliest they can get.  And here, there are all of the super bowl people to be heading back that way too.  What a mess, I'm glad its not me.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 19 - 25, 2015, AZ

Thursday, January 20.  I made it through the workweek and tonight I'm having a glass of wine to celebrate my Friday.  

Carol arrived safely on Monday night and we sat up talking for a while and she got settled in.  It's good to have her here for a visit.  She was on her own on Tuesday and Wednesday, as I had to work.  She and Frisco took walks together and she got to explore Brentwood.  

On Tuesday, several of the Mesa Spirit staff went by van to the corporate office for training on the reservation system.  I found it to be very helpful, but still confused as to what old policies are still in effect and what new policies are replacing them. We now have 3 call centers that make reservations, giving discounts for specials that we aren't even aware of - that makes the job difficult for me.

Thursday, January 21.  I'm sad.  I just learned that a dear friend in Wisconsin, Tom Reinhart, passed away in his sleep yesterday morning.  I sure have lots of fun memories of him through the years.  He and Mike met when they both worked at Madison Kipp Corporation back in 1971 and we were welcomed at Tom's family's land and lake house for many great camping and outdoor experiences through the years.  I know that he will be missed and I feel so bad for what Leslie and their family are going through.

Mike and Tom - New Years Eve, 1996

Carol and I took a drive today, the loop from Mesa toward Payson, then east to Roosevelt Dam, and then took the Apache Trail to Tortilla Flat and back home.  We stopped for a snack at Tortilla Flat and then tonight, we went to Tia Rosa with Pat and Rog for dinner.

The Dale Chihuly puzzle.

Sunday, January 25.  It's been a very nice week with Carol, some sightseeing, some dining, lots of talk. completed a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, and a hike.

Yesterday, we met Nan, Dale, and Monica for lunch at Mac's near their house and then came home and did some laundry, took a walk around the park, and were lazy.

This morning, we headed out to Papago Park with Pat, Rog, Connie, and the dogs for a hike around the buttes - these incredible rock formations that looked like a prehistoric animal.  The trails were nice, lots of people around but not crowded at all.  It was a good hike, about 3.5 miles.  On the way back home, we stopped at a burger place for a Bloody Mary and a snack.

I sold my Gargoyle shelves this afternoon.  Last week, Nan had spotted an ad on the board where she works, posted by someone who was looking for garage advertising pieces and automobilia.  We've been going back and forth via email for a couple of days and today, he came to see it and loved it.  I didn't get what I was told I could get at auction, but then it wasn't exactly what he expected either.  Regardless, it is gone and I feel like I got a good price for it.  Thanks, Nan!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January 12 - 18, 2015, AZ

Monday, January 12.  Back to work today and the craziness continues.  We have a new computer system and I went through the training manual over the weekend and saw a short demo on Saturday, so it isn't totally unfamiliar.  It is a program that I have worked on before, so I don't think it will be too bad.  The problem is that all of the updates haven't been entered from the last week and a half when we had no system, so the data isn't accurate or reliable.  I checked in a couple, sent them to their site, only to learn that it was occupied - then 2 others turned out like that too.  Monday's are always very busy anyway.

Good news, Ben shared some photos with me that are darling!

Wednesday, January 14.  My work week is over and now I'm going to get ready for a weekend of camping with friends from Brentwood (Chuck & Kathy, Jan & Jim, and Connie) and for Carol's visit next week.  It's going to be busy, but a good kind of busy.  The weather is going to cooperate too, low 70's are predicted for the next week or so.

Sunday, January 18.  I had 2 appointments on Thursday.  First, I learned that my eye is completely normal again and I will continue the regiment of frequent applications of eye drops.  And then I had a haircut appointment and had it cut pretty short again.  When I was done, I hooked up the camper brought it to the house.  The last time I was camping, a couple of the guys were telling me to get this contraption for aligning the trailer to the hitch.  I went to Harbor Freight and bought the thing, and I am really impressed.  What an invention, it sure made the job easy.

We couldn't check into the campsite at McDowell Mountain Regional Park until noon on Friday but I was ready to go long before that.  I busied myself with housecleaning, since Carol will get here in Monday evening.

We got to the park, got setup and what a gorgeous place this is.  To the north, we see Four Peaks, to the east, the Superstition Mountains, and to the south, Red Mountain.  There isn't a bad view, no matter what direction you look.  

Four Peaks

The drinks were going down pretty easy for me and I guess I entertained the girls around the campfire. We laughed and giggled and had a great time.  Jim and Chuck disappeared and left us to solve the worlds problems on our own.  Needless to say, my head was hurting a bit the next morning, but not bad.

Pat and Roger came out and the 3 of us plus the dogs headed out on a 2-hour hike along the Granite Trail.  The terrain is a little different from other hikes we have taken, not as many trees or Saguaro, so the views of the surrounding mountains were unobstructed.  Off in the distance, we saw the fountain go off in downtown Fountain Hills (an hourly occurrence).  It was beautiful, with the north side of Red Mountain in view.

That white vertical line is the fountain, about 8 miles from our campsite.

Jill called me this afternoon for a Facetime conversation with her and Camille and Norah.  That technology is so cool!  Having the opportunity to see those guys now and then makes it a whole lot easier for me to be away from them.  It's not quite like picking them up and hugging and playing with them, but it is surely the next best thing.

Max and Cookie (friends from Brentwood) came out for the afternoon and they brought lots of BBQ ribs, so we had a yummy lunch when we got back from our hike.  Jeannie (Jim and Jan's daughter) and her boyfriend, Ken, also joined us.  The evening of was quiet, sitting around the campfire.  We were all pretty full from lunch, so Connie brought out dessert - strawberry shortcake and that is what we ate for dinner.  That is until Jim mentioned potatoes cooked in the hot coals and that was a yummy snack before going to bed.  I was the first to retire - imagine that.

Breakfast this morning was yummy and then we all got to packing up to head back home.  Jim and Ken both crawled under my computer to make sure that everything was ok (I learned on a blog to check for cracks in the frame) and they were both impressed with the construction of the thing.  Now that makes me feel good and like I did the right thing.  I was emptied, cleaned, and parked in the storage lot by 1:00 this afternoon.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January 5 - 11, 2015, AZ

Wednesday, January 7.  What a week!  Monday was an 8-hour workday, with a brief potty break and a half-hour lunch break.  Customers were non-stop and I had 3 that were angry and yelling at me.  Yes, raising their voices in s very angry manner.  I got one apology and it was deserved.  I haven't done anything to these people, I understand their frustration, but I'm not responsible for their problems.  Was it the full moon?  On top of that, I wasn't feeling the best and I was sounding even worse.

Tuesday was better, the number of customers and those with problems, were less and I was off at 1:00.  I  really wasn't feeling well and my left eye was red, swollen and watering constantly.  I wasn't able to get to see a doctor until this morning and it is infected.  I had the same problem exactly a year ago, so it could be related to the environment but is more likely viral and linked to this other crud I have.  After just 2 doses of the medication, it is already better.  Tomorrow will be a better day.

I did manage to get a few projects around the house done; furniture cleared from the bedrooms in preparation for getting the carpets shampooed tomorrow, a good vacuum job on those rooms, a picture hung, and a shrub in the back yard cut down.  It died because my water softener brine tank overfilled and drained out of the relief valve.  The Kinetico service department walked me through a reset and it seems to be working as it should.

Connie stopped by this afternoon and we sat and gabbed for an hour or so. It was another telepathy thing - just as I was heading into the house to call her, she showed up on her bike. Mathis happened with Rita last week too.  I looked at the clock to see if it would be a good time to call her, just as the phone rang from her.  I love it when this kind of thing happens!

Thursday, January 8.  I think I am over the hill on this crud, I won't talk about it any more. 

Today was a productive one.  My carpets were being cleaned, so after prepping for that, I made a batch of liver treats for Frisco and then started scrubbing down the kitchen.  I got the upper cabinets all cleaned.  I cut down a shrub in my back yard that died when my water softener brine tank overflowed and drained near it.  I walked Frisco and did a video workout too.

When I checked my mailbox this morning, there was a package from Pat - my Christmas gift got here a little late.  It is a beautiful pendant, a piece of a 110,000 year old meteorite, called Muonionalusta.  The meteorite is covered in Platinum as the metal alone would rust.  Like I said, it is beautiful.  

And then, I ran some errands; a trip to the post office, Harbor Freight (got a gizmo for aligning the car and trailer), the grocery store and the thrift store.  It has been a week since I left the house for anything other than work.  It felt good.

I cooked up some sausage and peppers for dinner tonight - yummy stuff!  Rene and I had a nice, long conversation tonight. 

Five years ago this evening, Jill rushed to the hospital and learned that their baby, little Owen Quinn Bridge was stillborn.  What a tragic event for our family.  I can't help but imagine what a sweet little guy he would have become and I know it is difficult for Ben and Jill.  They went on to have such a beautiful family, but they have endured a lot of grief with this loss.  

Sunday, January 11.  My weekend was busy but I hardly left the house.  I considered a hike, garage sales, and a gem and mineral show but stayed at home instead.  I got the guest room set up for Carol's visit in s week.  I use an airbed for guests and they always have a strong, plastic odor after being stored for a while - they need to be aired out.  Fortunately, the weather has been nice and I've been able to open the windows during the day.

I also got some cleanup done in the yard.  The Lantana needed to be cut back and some of the Elephant Food Jade got a bit of burn at the tips from the frost last week, in spite of being covered.

I went to TGIF at the clubhouse on Friday night and it was good to connect with so many people in the community.  It really is a nice place to live, although I have been kind of disconnected lately, preferring to stay at home or go out for fish fry on Fridays.

Friday, January 2, 2015

January 1 - 4, 2015, AZ

Thursday, January 1.  Wow!  I slept right through to 6:30 this morning.  When I opened my iPad to check the latest news, it was all about snow in Phoenix and the nearby areas.  My thermometer said 38 degrees on my patio but I saw frost in the golf course when I walked Frisco.  For the 2nd time since I've lived here, I saw snow on the Superstition Mountains as I went to work today.

A friend posted this one on Facebook this morning.

I got busy and took down the Christmas decorations this morning and only have the outdoor lights left to do.

Work was another crazy time with no computer system.  The weather prevented a lot of folks from arriving, so that might have been a good thing.  The next week or so will be a challenge, but I have the next 2 days off so I'm not going to even think about it.

Pat and Roger joined me for a roast chicken dinner tonight. Roger was sick, so we fixed him a hot toddy and he hung out in the recliner with a blanket over him.

Saturday, January 3.  I now have the crud that has been going around.  Jan invited Connie and I to join them at her daughter, Jody's house where Paul was testing out the new smoker that he got for Christmas.  I met lots of nice people and had some delicious ribs, pork, and chicken and other goodies.  I just couldn't get warm, the entire evening and by the time I got back home, I was starting to feel the head and body aches are part of it.

I spent the day at home, reading, knitting, napping, and doing laundry.